Inbound marketing seems to have become increasingly popular within the business world. But what is inbound marketing? I believe that I should first quickly define the two key expressions I will be mentioning through this post.
“Inbound marketing” is a marketing strategy that focuses on getting found by customers, letting the customers come to you and engage with you; it is part of what “marketing guru” Seth Godin calls “the permission marketing”. On the other hand, outbound marketing can be observed in most of the traditional marketing techniques that interrupt customers through excessive and inappropriate advertising and promotion. Many would consider outbound marketing as cold, or unwelcoming as it includes techniques such as cold calls and print ads. These are something that the receivers haven’t asked for.
Through inbound marketing, companies tend to generate warm and qualified leads, rather than cold ones, as described in outbound marketing.
Mashable have expressed the pros of using Inbound Marketing strategies and why it’s “winning” over the “out-dated” outbound marketing methods.
- 44% of direct mail is never opened; a waste of time and money for the organisations
- 86% of people skip through television adverts
- 84% of 25-34 year olds have clicked out of a website because of an “irrelevant or intrusive ad”
- The cost of outbound marketing is more than for inbound marketing
With the development of technology, many businesses have the opportunity to use inbound marketing strategies – which previously may not have been an option. For those of you who still use outbound marketing strategies, here are a few tips that can assist you with the switch.
- Write a blog: Blogging is a great way to create valuable content for your readers. You need to address and discuss current topics, or answer questions that are being asked by your target audience in your field of expertise. By doing so, you will gain the respect of your audience and readers will value your organisation, especially as they aren’t receiving any unwanted outbound marketing. In addition, blogging can impact positively upon your Search Engine Optimisation strategy (SEO). The more blog posts you have, the more opportunities you have to create inbound links from other sites and social networks back to your blog/site.
- Host Webinars: Webinars are another great way of providing value to your customers. They’re convenient for you and for the customer, as it means that they can listen without having to leave home or the work place. You just need to consider what to discuss – it should be something that hasn’t been previously overdone as otherwise no one will tune in – and the last thing you want is a lot of effort gone into something with no return. Most webinars require a booking confirmation, and so therefore you can monitor how many people will be listening.
- Social Media: Social media can be linked in to the above and plays such an important role of inbound marketing. Once you have written blogs, or decided to host a webinar, you can promote them via social media. The people receiving the content are actually interested in it and have chosen to read your blog or listen to your webinar, rather than be abruptly cold called by someone! There are many social media channels, but the most used ones are Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. All 3 have a different audience so it is important to get an account for them all. If you are not familiar with these communication methods, I would recommend to tune in, listen and observe how it works before making any rash decisions – you need to feel comfortable with what you’re doing and make sure you’re using the channels that your target audience is most susceptible to use. For more detail on social media, you can access our blog post on “Top Tips on Social Media for Business” that goes into further detail on how to create a succesful social media profile.
I certainly believe that inbound marketing is the new way forward. For centuries, small businesses have known that listening to their clients, treating them with respect and taking their feedback on board was a ‘must’. However with the rise of large ‘corporations’ over the years and increased marketing competition, those notions were slowly lost in the marketing mix. It is nice but equally necessary to see them coming back as social media work their way through any marketing strategy.
Stop ‘shouting’; learn to ‘whisper’ in the right ears.
When not blogging about digital marketing Lucidica work providing IT support, training and consultation for small businesses in London.